Expo opens Brazilian trade up to eastern Africa

Brazil flag Africa tradeBrazil is the world's leading producer and exporter of coffee, sugar, chicken and leather. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)Companies from across Brazil were on hand to showcase their products and services at the Eastern Africa Expo 2013 held at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, in late July

The expo provided a platform for business opportunities in the technology, agriculture, infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, housing, finance and fuel sectors in the East Africa region.

Brazil has, over the last few years, been seeking business investment opportunities in eastern Africa, with trade volumes between Kenya and Brazil standing at US$306mn in the 2011/12 financial year.

Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer has recently signed deals with Kenya Airways and supplied a number of planes for the airline’s regional market expansion.

"Kenya is Brazil’s fifth largest trade partner in Africa with transactions in agriculture and aviation. We see the country as the entry point for expansion to other African markets”, observed Marcela Nicodemus, Brazil’s ambassador to Kenya while addressing delegates at the exhibition.

With a population of more than 200mn, Brazil has emerged as one the fastest growing nations in the world. It is the world's leading producer and exporter of coffee, sugar, ethanol, fruit juices, soya, beef, chicken, tobacco and leather.

Kenya has been eager to tap into this emerging potential having recently signed agreements in bio-diesel, bio-ethanol and power co-generation with Brazilian authorities and companies.

Kenya’s industrialisation secretary Adan Mohammed remarked, “Brazilian firms should tap into existing investment opportunities in renewable energy. There is available expertise considering that Brazil produces the bulk of its electricity from biofuels.”

Agreements have also been signed for agricultural mechanisation programme on crop research and developments focused on agribusiness, fisheries and marine culture technology.

Agreements have also been reached on HIV/AIDS and malaria prevention and control, and institutional strengthening of the Kenya Wildlife Services, Kenya Airports Authority and Nairobi County.

“Effort should be made to establish direct flights between Brazil and Nairobi. This will significantly increase economic and commercial exchange between the two regions”, observed Mohammed.

Speaking during the expo, Andre Luis Fodi, an export supervisor with packaging firm and baling machines manufacturer Indumak Company, said, “We have been in contact with a Kenya dealer after studying the local market. There is potential for our products."

Indumak is one of the largest in Brazil packaging 90 per cent of the country's sugar and 75 per cent of its rice, with an annual turnover of US$30mn, and operations in Egypt and Nigeria.

Another Brazilian firm Perfilline, a maker of construction panels, plans to enter the market by the end of December 2013.

The expo also provided an opportunity for expansion into the larger East African Community market (EAC). With a population of about 140mn and a GDP per capital of $732, the EAC market offers plenty of opportunities for Brazilian companies, and can act as a gateway to the eastern and southern African nations of South Sudan, Ethiopia, Zambia, Malawi and DR Congo.

Mwangi Mumero

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